I'm writing a paper for my world literature class on the poem "Dead Roe Deer" from the Classic of Poetry. In my research/reading of a direct translation, I read that to embrace/think of spring is a Chinese expression with sexual connotations, but I can't find evidence of this expression anywhere else. If anyone is familiar with this expression and can verify its existence or meaning, that would be extremely appreciated.

Here's link to blog post where I read this.

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    That would be the very origin of the expression 懷春. Another similar expression is 思春. "Sexual connotation" yes a little, but as Chinese culture is in a sense conservative, it can also be interpreted as "be in love".
    – Stan
    Mar 4, 2016 at 6:42
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    Chinese culture of today may be conservative, but that is not really true of Tang and previous dynasties. 春 is vegetation under the influence of the sun, that is, procreation, which is sex, which is lust, which is love. Think rabbits, eggs and other cultural phenomena of the West implying fertility in springtime.
    – user4452
    Mar 4, 2016 at 21:32
  • @倪阔乐 you're correct. I just was unable to convey my meaning exactly in English so I said "in a sense". The "conservative degree" at different ages of China was wavy -- I wasn't sure about the status at the time when that poem was written.
    – Stan
    Mar 5, 2016 at 1:25
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    @Stan I would argue that Chinese culture has been rather open to sex until the rise of Neo-Confucianism a thousand years ago, with a peak during Tang. Mengzi and others testify that this was true also when Shijing was compiled.
    – user4452
    Mar 5, 2016 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


有女懷春、吉士誘之: A girl in love, enticing lucky men.

有女怀春 is actually a proverb. Embracing spring is thus a euphemism for being ready for love.

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